If you’re going through a divorce or will be doing so in the near future, you are probably already dreading the idea of spending any holiday without your children. But for divorced parents who share child custody, this is the reality they face. Holidays are often very important to both parents, which means they can be a point of contention when it comes to creating a custody and visitation schedule.
In our last post, we discussed one of the most common solutions to the problem: alternating holidays on alternating years. But this is just one solution. Some additional solutions are proposed below – and it is by no means a comprehensive list.
Creative solutions to shared holidays
Based on your relationship with your ex and the proximity between family homes, you can always discuss different solutions that work better for everyone. For instance:
- On years when you don’t have the kids on a certain holiday, you can choose to celebrate that holiday with them before or after the actual day, which brings the opportunity for new and fun traditions
- If you and your spouse live close to one another, you may be able to negotiate splitting the hours of a holiday rather than the full day or several-day periods
- If you can’t be with your kids on a given holiday, you may be able to negotiate having a video call or phone call with them during the time they are with their other parent (as long as you are willing to reciprocate when the kids are with you)
- In some (albeit rare) co-parenting relationships, families are able to celebrate holidays together even after divorce. This may not be possible immediately after divorce, but it could be something to strive for if both parents are able to make progress with one another.
Keep the focus on the wellbeing of your children
It is not easy to be away from your kids on a major holiday, even if you know that you’ll share it with them next year. The important aspect to focus on, however, is the happiness and wellbeing of your kids. They shouldn’t have to feel guilty for spending time with one parent over the other. Instead, they should feel excited that they have twice as many holidays to spend with each of their parents. If you can frame a difficult situation positively and try to make the best of it, you can truly make the holidays happy for yourself and your children.